Façade of the Shrine of the River Goddesses, Kailasanatha rock-cut temple, Ellora
Photographer: Nepean, Henry Mack
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the façade of the Shrine of the River Goddesses in the Kailasanatha rock-cut temple at Ellora, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections, taken by Henry Mack Nepean in 1868. The spectacular site of Ellora is renowned for its series of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cave temples excavated into the rocky façade of a cliff of basalt. The works were carried out under the patronage of the Kalachuri, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta dynasties between the 6th and 9th centuries. The Kailasanatha is a free-standing temple rather than a cave, entirely sculpted out of a great mass of basalt. Patronized by different rulers of the Rashtrakuta dynasty from the mid-8th century, it symbolizes Mount Kailasa, abode of Shiva. The complex comprises three main sections; a Nandi shrine, a mandapa, and the main sanctuary. The shrine in this view is excavated in the wall that form the sides of the courtyard of the great Kailasanatha temple. The front has two pillars and there are large sculptured figures of the River Goddesses Sarasvati, Ganga and Yamuna standing in niches. This is a view looking due north towards the entrance to the shrine, with a stone elephant in the foreground.